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OCZ Agility-2 SandForce Solid State Drive E-mail
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Written by Olin Coles   
Friday, 30 July 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
OCZ Agility-2 SandForce Solid State Drive
Features and Specifications
Closer Look: OCZ Agility 2 Extended
SandForce SF-1200 SSD Controller
SSD Testing Methodology
AS-SSD Benchmark
ATTO Disk Benchmark
CrystalDiskMark 3.0 Tests
Iometer IOPS Performance
EVEREST Disk Benchmark
HDD vs Hybrid Drive vs SSD
OCZ Agility 2 SSD Conclusion

OCZ Agility 2 SSD Conclusion

IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.

Our performance rating considers how effective the 120GB OCZ Agility 2 'Extended' SSD performs in operations against direct competitor SATA storage solutions. For reference, SandForce specifies the SF-1200 at 260 MB/s read and write, while OCZ increases performance expectations to 280 MB/s read and 270 write. In our benchmark tests, the Agility 2 SSD performed at or above this rating, and often matched the Vertex 2 series. For example, the OCZ Agility 2 SSD delivered 286/277 MBps peak read and writes speeds using ATTO Disk Benchmark SSD speed tests with Everest Disk Benchmark produced 269/258 MB/s, making this one of the fastest SATA-3GBps MLC SSD's Benchmark Reviews has ever tested. The retail OCZSSD2-2AGTE120G kit that OCZ sent for testing uses a custom 1.11 firmware release, and operational performance measured 23376 when tested with Iometer. The Agility 2 series dominates the other SSDs lacking SandForce technology, and proved that OCZ's investment into custom firmware has paid off. Enthusiasts can expect high operational speeds and functionality for demanding applications.

OCZ-Agility2-Extended-SSD-Tilt.jpg

Solid State Drives are low-visibility products: you see them just long enough to install and then they're forgotten. Like their Hard Disk Drive counterparts, Solid State Drives are meant to place function before fashion. Anything above and beyond a simple metal shell is already more than what's expected in terms of the appearance. OCZ has created an back-to-basics look with the black and silver label on their Agility 2 SSD series, while the black metal chassis matches the others in their product line. As solid state controllers become faster and more advanced, heat dissipation through the enclosure walls may demand that chassis designs become more beneficial than they previously needed to be.

Construction is probably the strongest feature credited to any solid state product line, and the OCZ Agility 2 series is no exception. Solid State Drives are by nature immune to most abuses because of their architecture and technology, but the hard metal shell adds a superfluous level of protection. If an OCZ Agility 2 SSD Series product does happen to fail during the 3-year warranty period, end-users may contact OCZ via the company website, or extensive support forums. Fortunately, there's also a toll-free telephone number (800-459-1816) for free technical support and customer service questions.

Benchmark Reviews has tested the OCZ Agility 2 SSD against many of its closest competitors, and the performance results were impressive by their own merits. In fact, the OCZ Agility 2 offered faster speeds than most other SSDs, including the Vertex 2. Operational performance tests still placed the Agility 2 very high, but not to the level of 'unlocked' 50,000 IOPS SSDs, such as the aforementioned Vertex 2. High-performance computer enthusiasts will enjoy the a noteworthy 0.15 ms response time, which assures a nearly-instant reactions when called upon. Based on the SATA-3.0 SandForce SF-1222TA3-SBH processor, the OCZ Agility 2-series delivers native TRIM garbage collection (in Windows 7) and SMART support with impressive transfer speeds. More importantly, SandForce DuraClass technology adds their proprietary RAISE and DuraWrite features not available to other SSDs, and the end result is a product that could last up to five times longer with less wear on NAND flash modules due to 7% over-provisioning.

SandForce SSDs are taking the storage market by storm, has helped the OCZ Agility 2 dominate the high-performance PC hardware segment. Not only are SandForce-based Solid State Drives extremely fast, but more importantly they're capable of SLC-level operational performance I/O and NAND durability. The OCZ Agility 2 series builds from the powerful SandForce SF-1222 solid state processor, which brings innovation to the SSD industry by prolonging MLC NAND flash module lifetime and delivering RAID-like data redundancy. When one SandForce product is physically identical to another, the overall value depends on price, warranty, and customer support. If you're price shopping, a quick stroll through our other recent SandForce SF-1200 product reviews will reveal other SSD options.

As of 21 September 2010, OCZ's Agility-2 SSD series dominates every capacity with an extremely competitive price point. There are several capacities available, which are sold in standard (28% over-provision) or extended (7% over-provision) Agility 2 models:

OCZ Agility 2 OCZ Agility 2 Extended

OCZ Vertex 2

OCZ Vertex 2 Extended

$121 - 40GB - OCZSSD2-2AGT40G
$169 - 50GB - OCZSSD2-2AGT50G
$290 - 100GB - OCZSSD2-2AGT100G
$499 - 200GB - OCZSSD2-2AGT200G
$148 - 60GB - OCZSSD2-2AGTE60G
$219 - 90GB - OCZSSD2-2AGTE90G
$256 - 120GB - OCZSSD2-2AGTE120G
$413 - 180GB - OCZSSD2-2AGTE180G
$539 - 240GB - OCZSSD2-2AGTE240G
$150 - 50GB - OCZSSD2-2VTX50G
$240 - 100GB - OCZSSD2-2VTX100G
$599 - 200GB - OCZSSD2-2VTX200G
$155 - 60GB - OCZSSD2-2VTXE60G
$220 - 90GB - OCZSSD2-2VTXE90G
$240 - 120GB - OCZSSD2-2VTXE120G
$424 - 180GB - OCZSSD2-2VTXE180G
$565 - 240GB - OCZSSD2-2VTXE240G

Prices between standard and extended Agility 2 SSDs are intended to be comparable, with frequent promotions and rebates further reducing costs. Consumers must decide which is most important: less capacity with more over-provisioned NAND intended for a longer Enterprise-class lifetime, or more capacity with less over-provisioning more befitting of end-users. Since both versions offer extremely durable data storage lifetimes, and replacement/refreshment cycles generally run 3-5 years, my recommendation goes for choosing the Vertex 2 'Extended' series. Additionally, NewEgg's pricing it hard to recommend the 120GB Agility-2 we tested over the Vertex-2 of the same capacity. Until the prices get sorted out (and they change by the hour), compare products and look for the best value.

OCZ's Agility 2 SSD series has pushed bandwidth speed performance to the highest point we've seen from a 2nd-generation SATA-3GB/s drive. Delivering an exceptionally attractive operational performance (IOPS) reaching past 23K, the Agility 2 could be suited for home and small business servers. Consumers should consider the Agility-2 and Vertex-2 series identical products; except for that Agility-2 delivers 20K IOPS while Vertex-2 is good for up to 50K. Pricing will also guide consumer decisions, and there's at least one example where Vertex-2 is the better buy. Nevertheless, OCZ's Agility 2 easily outmatches previous non-SandForce multi-layer cell SSDs, and competes head-on with Enterprise-level MLC storage solutions. OCZ offers the Agility 2 in huge assortment of capacities, allowing for a storage solution at every price point. All Agility-2 kits come with a 2.5" into 3.5" converter tray, which desktop computer enthusiasts should welcome. In summary, OCZ's Agility 2 dominates nearly every capacity with extremely attractive pricing, and still keeps the three-year product warranty. For high-performance enthusiasts and hardcore gamers, the OCZ Agility 2 offers blazing fast transfer speed and excellent operational performance.

Pros:Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award for Quality Recognition

+ Delivers 23376 4K IOPS in Iometer
+ Outstanding 286/277 MBps read/write speed with ATTO
+ SandForce SF-1200 processor supports TRIM, SMART, and RAISE
+ DuraWrite technology extends NAND lifetime
+ Top-level enthusiast operational I/O performance
+ 3-Year OCZ product warranty
+ Several standard and extended SSD storage capacities
+ AES-128 Automatic encryption and password data protection
+ Lightweight compact storage solution
+ Resistant to extreme shock impact
+ Low power consumption may extend battery life

Cons:

- Not 3rd-Generation SATA-6.0 compliant
- Lacks integrated USB Mini-B data connection
- Some manufacturers offer five-year warranty

Ratings:

  • Performance: 9.50
  • Appearance: 8.75
  • Construction: 9.50
  • Functionality: 9.50
  • Value: 7.50

Final Score: 8.95 out of 10.

Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award.

Benchmark Reviews invites you to leave constructive feedback below, or ask questions in our Discussion Forum.


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Comments 

 
# Great ReviewRobert Johnson 2010-07-29 22:56
A really good thorough review of this product and a testimonial to the speed of the Sandforce processor
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# RE: OCZ Agility-2 SandForce Solid State Drivetuleggi 2010-07-29 23:06
Nice!! Now we are just waiting for the Vertex LE performance test, that many websites claims as the best SSD on the market...but I only trust benchmarkreviews! :-)
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# Vertex LE = Limited EditionOlin Coles 2010-08-01 11:19
Sorry, but there are no plans to review the Vertex LE. This is because the Vertex LE is essentially the Vertex 2, released at a time when the 50K IOPS firmware was licensed for premium. Now there are at least a dozen different companies with 50K SandForce SSDs.
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# RE: OCZ Agility-2 SandForce Solid State DriveRobert17 2010-07-30 16:43
I've just upgraded yet again from my first SSD a little over a year ago, to a larger, newer, more refined model, twice the 32Gb I started with, and have added Trim support as well (my first was a JMicron controlled, hair of stutter, 32Gb Patriot; now a Kingston 64Gb V-series). I caught both on "sale" as they were older models at the time of purchase, Sandforce no doubt forcing the liquidation of inventories. The Patriot purchase was for $99 for 32Gb, the Kingston at $99 for 64Gb, basically $1.34/Gb. Although this is just me staying a generation or two behind the bleeding edge, I find it a very adoptable price point and it affords me the upgrade path for multiple home systems simultaneously. All in all, I think your extrapolation of the future pricing of SSDs is coming sooner rather than later and any enthusiast can make the jump into SSDs before the next year is out. As you've stated several times in several ways, it is the single most satisfying upgrade one may do to a PC.
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# Lagging Edge....BruceBruce 2010-07-30 16:56
I'm with you on your acquisition strategy... The $100-$150 price point has been very fertile ground if you are willing to wait for Newegg ShellShocker deals and tech that is ~ 6 months old. Once I had my first taste of SSD performance, I knew there was no way I was going back to mechanical drives.
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# Finally!Olin Coles 2010-07-30 17:19
"As you've stated several times in several ways, it is the single most satisfying upgrade one may do to a PC."

I'm so glad that people are finally coming to understand where speed comes from for most computer-related tasks.
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# MeOlddog 2010-08-01 15:34
I have one of these in the 60GB size and it was a real shot in the arm for the system's performance. I install everything else to the data drives, but run the 64 bit win-7 system on the SSD. I'm very satisfied with it's performance characteristics. As the prices do come down, I'll buy them for all of the other PC's in the house.
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# wondering somethingpit 2010-08-09 11:22
do you test these drives with them as the operating system drive? or are they separate data drives?
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# RE: wondering somethingOlin Coles 2010-08-09 12:07
All storage devices are tested as a secondary drive. It would be impossible to test them with the O/S or any partition, because some tests erase data or require no partition.
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# TRIM support... confused!Frammel 2010-08-23 21:22
I have been looking ALL over for a straight-forward answer to this question and I can't find one, can only find info hinting towards this. The OCZ Agi II drives with their 1.11 firmware say they support TRIM. I see people write that it's 'native' and it's 'included' and it's 'available', etc... but is it an automatic function or should I be scrambling for a tool that allows me to manually run TRIM? I'm currently running Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit. Absolutely worth-it drive, I don't want to miss out on an ounce of performance because of this!
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# RE: TRIM support... confused!Olin Coles 2010-08-23 21:30
You haven't found an answer because it's a relatively common-sense question that people don't spend time writing about. All SandForce-driven SSDs include TRIM support, similar to the previous generation of Indilinx SSDs. This is like saying your car is capable of running on water... all you have to do is supply the water. The Windows 7 O/S is that water, and activates TRIM commands automatically in the background.
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# Trim Built In to W7BruceBruce 2010-08-23 21:28
It's the default setup for Win 7. It works in the background. I know...I'd rather "see" it working, too. But it IS working.
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